Photos: Laurens Morel

Carolijn Brouwer - first woman to win Round Texel

As Xander Pols and Stefan Dubbeldam take line honours

Sunday June 10th 2012, Author: Diana Bogaards, Location: Netherlands

Female helmsman Carolijn Brouwer with crew Wouter Samama have won the 35rd Zwitserleven Round Texel Race. This is a historic victory, because Brouwer is the first female helmsman to claim the overall trophy on corrected time.

Dutchmen Xander Pols and Stefan Dubbeldam took line honours and finished second overall. They crossed the line after 2 hours 50 minutes and 21 seconds with a big lead. The race had a thrilling conclusion with close racing. Also it was the first time in history that world's biggest catamaran race took place on a Sunday.

Exactly at noon today 250 cats started in the catamaran race round the Wadden island of Texel. There were no OCSes despite current and wind from behind pushing the sailors towards the line. John de Vries and Diederik Pauli on their Nacra F20 carbon were in the lead on the first leg on the North Sea to the lighthouse, but lost it just before the first gate to William Sunnucks and Oli Egan (GBR).

Dutchmen Xander Pols and Stefan Dubbeldam, sailing the Boskalis Nacra carbon 20, had a fierce battle with their British duo. Until the VC-buoy on the Wadden Sea, Sunnucks and Egan were leading, but from there the Dutchmen took over.

"Great," said Pols enthusiastically after returning to the beach. "On the Wadden Sea heading to Oudeschild we noticed that we could point higher and we were faster than the English. Therefore we made fewer meters and sailed at better angles."

It was the third time that Pols took line honours in the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race, but according to the winner he never gets used to it. "I think overall we also do good business," said Pols, although he has never won on handicap. "At the beginning there was more wind than forecast - about force four. From the ferry haven it continuously dropped. That could be our luck, so we could keep the F18s behind us. I really want to win overall once."

Sunnucks and Egan in the end finished second at Paal 17 at the western end of Texel. They have already sailed around the island twice this week. On Wednesday and Thursday they attempted to break the 2009 around Texel record on their M20. Today they gave Pols and Dubbeldam a hard time. According to Sunnucks, they were a bit too cautious after the VC buoy: "Xander and Stefan tacked to the coast ahead of us and had good lifts there. We saw them speeding away. Our boats have the same speed potential, but we were afraid to get grounded and tacked later. The one with local knowledge has an advantage. On the North Sea we got closer again, because the wind decreased."

At the Hors, Sunnucks and Egan were grounded. A little later the duo came back to Pols and Dubbeldam again. Sunnucks: "We tacked a lot and stayed to the coast. Therefore we got closer. Unfortunately, we were nowhere anymore when Xander hoisted his spinnaker. That one is bigger than ours. It was a beautiful race. Much better than it would have been yesterday with that much wind. A good decision."

For Brouwer, today was her fifth time competing in the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race, although only her third time finishing. Finally it was her lucky day, as she took after 3 hours, 10 minutes and 25 seconds sailing an historic overall victory. In the 35 year history of world's biggest cat race Brouwer is the first woman ever to finish first overall.

Brouwer commented: "We were already gone at the starting gun. Wouter checked the line well and said I just had to go. He told me not to look over the shoulders, but I did it secretly. That was an enjoyment." They started inshore and remained there and sailed their own race. 'In the gusts we got some height in order to stay out of the surf. Only after 15 minutes, Xander Pols past us. We really haven't seen any other F18s around us. It was quite exciting at the VC-buoy, because we were double trapezing and sometimes you hit the ground there, so we put on the brakes a bit. However, later on at Oudeschild we really got stuck." When asked how this success felt, Brouwer said: "This is amazing. We went for it, but this is better than expected. Finally a normal Round Texel Race, because last year we were already hit and broken before the start."

Gunnar Larsen and Sam Frank took third place overall and were second in the F18 class. The newly crown Nacra Infusion World Champions were happy with their double victory this week. "We have sailed very well", said Frank. "Carolijn was faster at the start and the whole race we were busy getting back. We succeeded partly. With Grant Piggot (GBR) we had a thrilling tacking duel at the south end of the island. In the end we overtook them."

Top 3 line honours:
1. NED - Xander Pols/Stefan Dubbeldam
2. GBR - William Sunnucks/Oliver Egan
3. NED - John de Vries/Diederik Pauli

Top 3 on handicap:
1. NED - Xander Pols/Stefan Dubbeldam
2. NED - Carolijn Brouwer/Wouter Samama
3. NED - Gunnar Larsen/Sam Frank

In addition to Zwitserleven sponsors of the Round Texel Race were VVV Texel, Paal 17 Events, Treffers/Tenson, Teso, W&H Leibherr and Mondriaan Onderwijsgroep.


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